Parks News

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Please note:  our programs may be subject to changes based on the latest Public Health Orders and to ensure safety of participants and RDCO staff. 

 

Earth Day Nature Trivia

Don't wait to register your team of up to six people for the Earth Day edition of Nature Trivia!

Join us live for three rounds of nature-themed trivia questions. After each round, teams email their answers to our EECO staff.

There's a prize package for the winning team and two more prizes that will be awarded by random draw.

Once registered, you'll receive a zoon link before the day of the program.

Register at rdco.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx

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Volcanoes to Glaciation

There's evidence all around us of how the Okanagan Valley took shape.
In this special Zoom program - Shaping the Valley - Volcanoes to Glaciation, our park staff will share info about some of the most well-known rock formations in the valley. Many are easily accessible or at least visible in our regional parks!
There's no cost to take part, but please register in advance at rdco.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx 
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be emailed a Zoom link before the day of the program.
The programs run:
  • Sunday, April 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. 
  • Sunday, April 25 from 3 - 4 p.m.

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East Park Development begins in Mission creek regional park

The first phase of new development is underway in the east part of Mission Creek Regional Park.

From now until June, crews will be working in this area of the park, south and east of the Leckie Road parking lot.  View Map

This area will be closed for:

  • Building new gravel surfaced trails
  • Upgrading of existing trails and circular pathways
  • Construction of four new wooden footbridges
  • Building a new nature play log obstacle course
  • Turf grass areas
  • Accessible picnic tables and other park amenities

While most of the parking lot will remain open, ten stalls will be closed for construction equipment and materials staging and storage.

Visitors are asked to stay out of the signed, closed area and to be aware of trucks and heavy equipment accessing the work area from Leckie Road parking area.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 74 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

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In-person parks programming cancelled

The Regional District fully supports efforts to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 and has been following strict health and safety guidelines in its public programs.

In accordance with the latest Public Health Order, all in-person Regional District parks programs and events, are postponed indefinitely.  Any program fees will be refunded.

In addition, the RDCO will not be opening outdoor public skating at either Joe Rich or Scotty Creek community parks.

RDCO Parks staff continues to closely follow information from the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and will evaluate our ability to restart the delivery of our outdoor programs including the opening of outdoor ice rinks in Joe Rich and Ellison over the weeks ahead.

Throughout the pandemic, RDCO Parks Visitor Services staff have provided virtual interpretive programs through @regionalparks Instagram and other social media channels.  While we’re temporarily unable to provide in-person park and school programs our Visitor Services staff remain committed to offer programs in a virtual format to help connect with our community and to inspire residents to venture outside when and where it is safe to do so – which includes our parks.

All 30 RDCO Regional and Community Parks remain open for visitors to enjoy our natural surroundings.  For the safety of everyone using our outdoor park areas, please keep to a safe social bubble and practice physical distancing.

The Regional District continues to follow the direction of public health experts for the safety of its staff and residents to reduce the impact of coronavirus on our community and our health system.  For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.

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Canada-BC Grant helps build out access to regional park

Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park will become more accessible, thanks to a large infrastructure grant.

Under the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the two senior governments will contribute almost $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.   The Park protects cultural assets as well as a unique Okanagan grassland habitat.

The federal government is contributing $390,000; the BC government $324,967, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide $260,033 for a project that will build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.

RDCO Chair Gail Given says “This is an exciting investment in our community and the largest of our 30 regional parks. The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan.”

Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson says “lim ləmt, thank you, to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors. As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation co-manage the protected 640-hectare regional park which is a significant cultural, historic and geographic namesake landmark.  It’s home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is vital to the syilx/Okanagan people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making found in the area. In nsyilxcín (in-SEALK-chin - Okanagan language), sntsk‘il’ntən (sins–te– KEEL–ten) translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”.

The funds will be used to build three, new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain.  In addition, important park amenities will be constructed:

  • washrooms
  • parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road
  • information and kiosk signage
  • guard rail fences

The work is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.

It’s expected an official park opening will take place this fall and while work in the park is still underway, some of the park is open now. The current temporary access to Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park is through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain park.  The Swainson Road access is currently closed while the Black Mountain Irrigation District installs a new water main.  Residents are asked to stay on the trail so natural areas are not disturbed.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)